Media Statement by Dr. Ong Kian Ming, Member of Parliament for Bangi and Assistant Political Education Director for the Democratic Action Party (DAP) on the 10th of July, 2021

Malaysia is not a failed state but we have a failed government

A Bloomberg opinion editorial (op-ed for short) with the sensationalist title “Malaysia is staggering down the road to failed statehood” [1] by Daniel Moss on the 9th of July, 2021, has been shared widely on social media. While many may be inclined to agree with the headline given that this lockdown (MCO 3.0) has gone on for more than 2 months with no end in sight due to staggering daily COVID19 positive cases, it is wrong to conclude that Malaysia is a failed state or even heading down that path. What we have is a case of a “failed government” and not a “failed state”. And this “failed government” does not seem to have any clue on how to get us out of this situation.

There are different definitions of what a “failed state” is, but as a political scientist, it is quite clear to me that Malaysia is not and will not become a failed state anytime soon. A failed state is one in which the government, or more specifically, the civil service can no longer function properly, wherein there is a collapse in the decision making and execution process. If Malaysia is a failed state, the vaccination strategy could not be executed, nor the roll-out carried out at the vaccination centres all over the country. There is still a chain of command in operation in the country, starting from the Prime Minister as the head of the executive. The judiciary is still functioning and soon, the legislative i.e. parliament will reconvene.

Instead of a “failed state”, we have a “failed government”. Even those in government should be familiar with the hashtag #KerajaanGagal, which has appeared on social media and banners all over the country. There is no standard political science definition of what a failed government constitutes but I believe that the Rakyat knows one when they see one. The following are the most obvious reasons why this government is a “failed government”:

  1. Issuing inconsistent SOPs, some which do not make sense, and then U-turning on these SOPs soon after they have been issued
  2. Decision making by the National Security Council (NSC) that is NOT based on science and data, and NOT coordinated between the various ministries
  3. Doing the same things over and over again and expecting different / better results in controlling the spread of the COVID19 virus

Even though the situation is very bleak now, as elected representatives, our work to serve the rakyat continues. This includes:

  1. Working with and support the parts of government that are still responsive and the civil service on the vaccination strategy to bring the numbers down as quickly as possible, to save lives and save the economy 
  2. Working with NGOs and other stakeholders to #KitaJagaKita, to ensure that the welfare of those in need are addressed during this period of economic hardship due to repeated and continuous lockdowns
  3. Helping SMEs and other businesses survive the pandemic, and prepare for the opening of the economy post-pandemic

I have not been alone in my efforts, and I am encouraged by the many Malaysians who have stood up to help their fellow Rakyat during this pandemic. Despite #Kerajaangagal, let us not lose hope but let us continue to persevere towards the time when we are sufficiently immunised against COVID19 as a country, that we may emerge battle worn perhaps, but not as a failed state.  


Media Statement by Dr. Ong Kian Ming, Member of Parliament for Bangi and Assistant Political Education Director for the Democratic Action Party (DAP) on the 7th of July, 2021

Let’s not over-react to the issue of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) having not yet recognized the Astra-Zeneca (AZ) vaccine produced in non-EU countries which are not meant for the EU market

  1. I must admit that I, like many other Malaysians, had a very negative reaction upon reading news reports that the European Medicines Agency (MDA) does not ‘recognize’ the AZ vaccines that were recently donated to Malaysia by Japan.[1] But upon further study, I realized that this was a gross overaction and that I had failed to educate myself on this issue.
  2. Firstly, the EMA is not supposed to ‘recognize’ any vaccines that are produced outside the EU which are not meant for the EU market. Most of the supplies of the AZ vaccine which are being used in the EU are manufactured in Belgium as well as in the United States.[2] Like any pharmaceutical regulator, the EMA would only be concerned about the manufacturing process at the facilities where the vaccines are being made. It would not be concerned with the AZ manufacturing facilities in Japan which were producing mostly for the domestic market and also in India (via the Serum Institute) which were producing for the domestic market as well as for the low to mid income countries as part of the COVAX supply agreements.
  3. Secondly, the fact that EMA did not recognize these AZ vaccines from these production facilities does not mean that these vaccines are somehow “less safe”. For example, the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency (NPRA) in Malaysia has not yet recognized the COVID19 vaccine currently being produced by MODERNA but this vaccine is already being widely used in many countries including in Singapore.
  4. Thirdly, the EMA ‘non-recognition’ is not a restriction (as far as I know) for Malaysians who have taken the AZ vaccine to travel to Europe. I needed to be reminded that the EMA is a government agency just like the NPRA with a specific mandate and set of responsibilities. The EMA does not decide the rules with regards to international travel to and from EU countries. When it comes to travel to and within the European Union (EU), a European Commission spokesman said that travellers who are fully vaccinated with vaccines authorized in the EU “should” be allowed entry for non-essential travel even if these vaccines were not “produced in facilities covered by the marketing authorisation in the EU.”[3]
  5. Fourthly, the travel policy with regards to Malaysia travelling to the EU is still governed by the rules and policies of individual countries. For most EU countries, the indicators which are of concern are the number and variant of COVID19 cases and the rate of spread in the country from which an individual is travelling from. What this means is that we should be more concerned about increasing the vaccination rate domestically as part of the larger strategy of containing the COVID19 virus so that we are not put on any ‘banned list” of any country meaning that our citizens or those who are residing in Malaysia are banned from travelling to a country in the EU (or anywhere else, for that matter). In Germany, for example, there are indicators[4] which have been publicly published which categorized countries into “Areas of Variant of Concern” (effectively a ban travel list), “High Incidence Areas” (of which Malaysia entered into starting on the 14th of June, 2021) and “Base Risk Areas”.[5]
  6. Within individual EU countries, I am not aware of any country which has announced a differentiated treatment for individuals who have been vaccinated with the AZ COVID19 vaccines produced in facilities which are recognized by the EMA (VAXZEVRIA) versus AZ COVID19 vaccines produced in facilities which are not recognized by the EMA (COVISHIELD). For example, in Germany, its equivalent of our NPRA, the Paul Ehrlich Institute (the Federal Institute for Vaccines and Biomedicines) states the following[6]:

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… and Malaysia’s COVID19 AZ Vaccine is listed here.

7. For the United Kingdom, which is no longer in the European Union, and is probably the most visited European country by Malaysians, the main challenge for us is to ensure that our country doesn’t fall into the list of “RED” countries and territories which means that Malaysians cannot travel to the UK regardless of vaccination status. [7] We are currently on the “AMBER” list which means that we have to take a COVID19 test before traveling to England, quarantine in a hotel or at home for 10 days, and pay for a COVID19 test in Day 2 and Day 8 of the quarantine. Instead of focusing on vaccine recognition, we should instead work towards achieving the status of a “GREEN” country where we have to take a COVID19 test before traveling to the UK and have another test on day 2 of our visit. No home or hotel quarantine is required unless the COVID19 test result is positive.

8. To repeat, let us not overreact but focus instead on increasing our vaccination rate which is a crucial step towards bringing down the COVID19 numbers and allow the economy to reopen again, slowly but surely.



[5] The number of new infections per 100,000 inhabitants for the past 7 days.





Kenyataan Media oleh Dr. Ong Kian Ming, Ahli Parlimen Bangi merangkap Pembantu Pengarah Pendidikan Politik Parti Tindakan Demokratik (DAP) pada 7 Jun 2021

Utamakan Vaksinasi untuk Kilang dan Industri di Selangor untuk mengurangkan kadar jangkitan dan keseriusan kes Covid-19 di Lembah Klang dan seluruh negara

Semalam, jumlah kes Covid-19 di Selangor mencecah paras 2836 kes daripada sejumlah 6276 kes di seluruh negara, kira-kira 45% dari jumlah kes dalam negara. Besar kemungkinan yang akan ini akan terus tinggi di Selangor untuk beberapa minggu yang akan datang atas pelbagai sebab, termasuk kemungkinan penularan variasi DELTA yang lebih kuat menular, dan jangkitan berterusan dalam kalangan para pekerja di hostel dan asrama kediaman mereka. Terdapat keperluan mendesak untuk program PIKAS di peringkat persekutuan dan SELVAX di peringkat negeri untuk bergerak serentak supaya vaksinasi pekerja di kilang-kilang dan tapak pembinaan dapat dipertingkatkan untuk mengurangkan kadar jangkitan dan keseriusan kes Covid-19 di Lembah Klang. Kita hanya mampu mencapai angka “ajaib” bawah 4000 kes sehari yang akan membolehkan kita beransur ke Fasa 2 Pelan Pemulihan Negara untuk membuka semula ekonomi apabila kes-kes di Lembah Klang berkurangan. Dengan menyelamatkan Selangor, kita dapat selamatkan seluruh negara. 

Menteri Besar Selangor, YAB Amirudin Shari, semalam mengumumkan yang 81% kluster aktif adalah berkaitan dengan kilang (lebih tepat lagi, berkaitan dengan asrama kediaman pekerja) manakala 11% lagi adalah berkaitan dengan tapak pembinaan. Apabila kita teliti lagi angka ini, situasi ini menjadi lebih jelas di peringkat seluruh negara. Daripada 325 kluster baharu kilang yang dikenalpasti sejak daripada permulaan PKP 3.0 pada Mei 2021, 199 atau 36.6% berada di Selangor atau berkaitan dengan Selangor (bermakna kluster ini bermula di Selangor dan melibatkan kluster di Lembah Klang). Daripada 10802 kes positif yang dikenal pasti di kilang-kilang di seluruh negara semasa tempoh PKP 3.0 (termasuk dalam tempoh sekatan pergerakan), 4891 kes ini, atau 45.3% adalah di Selangor. Perkara ini terjadi kerana Selangor mencatatkan jumlah kilang dan pekerja kilang yang lebih tinggi berbanding dengan negeri-negeri lain. 

Di bawah program SELVAX untuk industri di Selangor, kira-kira 2 juta dos telah diperuntukan untuk sejuta pekerja dalam industri dalam negeri, merangkumi sektor pembuatan, pembinaan, peruncitan, dan lain-lain. Sektor pembuatan dan pembinaan perlu diberikan keutamaan kerana mempunyai kadar peratusan tenaga buruh asing yang lebih tinggi, yang ramainya tinggal di asrama kediaman yang sesak. Zon industri dan pembinaan yang telah mencatatkan jumlah kes Covid-19 yang tinggi dalam dua bulan yang lepas juga perlu diberikan keutamaan, misalnya kawasan-kawasan di daerah Hulu Langat, Petaling, dan Klang. Program vaksinasi ini perlu dijalankan di zon industri atau kawasan berdekatan, untuk mengurangkan keperluan untuk para pekerja bergerak jauh untuk mendapatkan vaksin, memandangkan terdapat kebimbangan yang pekerja tanpa permit mungkin akan menjadi sasaran pihak imigresen, dan risiko ini meningkat lebih tinggi apabila mereka perlu bergerak lebih jauh daripada tempat kerja atau tempat tinggal mereka. 

Kerana jumlah pekerja yang tinggi dalam sektor pembuatan dan pembinaan di Selangor, program PIKAS di bawah Kementerian Perdagangan Antarabangsa dan Industri (MITI) yang menumpukan usaha untuk memberikan vaksin kepada pekerja dalam sektor pembuatan perlu bergerak selari dengan program vaksinasi industri SELVAX. Setakat ini, dua lokasi di Selangor telah dikenalpasti sebagai tempat pelaksanaan PIKAS, Setia Alam Convention Center dan Shah Alam Convention Center. Jumlah lokasi PIKAS ini perlu dipertingkatkan dan ditempatkan berdekatan dengan zon industri dan pembinaan.

Program PIKAS mengenakan bayaran sebanyak RM90 (untuk menampung kos pentadbiran dua dos, vaksin diberikan percuma oleh Kerajaan Persekutuan) sementara program industri SELVAX pula mengenakan bayaran RM350 untuk dua dos. Oleh itu, MITI perlu menumpukan usaha program PIKAS kepada PKS yang kurang berkemampuan berbanding dengan syarikat-syarikat antarabangsa yang besar. Saya cadangkan supaya MITI dan STFC (bersama dengan SELANGKAH dan POIS) duduk bersama untuk berbincang strategi untuk program vaksinasi industri di Selangor, terutamanya memandangkan lebih banyak bekalan vaksin akan mula diterima dalam bulan Julai dan Ogos. Sebagai mantan Timbalan Menteri MITI dan ahli Jawatankuasa POIS, saya bersedia untuk menjadi pemudah cara perbincangan di antara MITI dan agensi kerajaan negeri dan ahli politik berkenaan di Selangor. 

Hanya dengan usaha bersatu padu di antara kerajaan persekutuan dan negeri, bermula di Selangor, boleh kita mula melihat kesan dari segi jumlah kes Covid-19 di Lembah Klang dan juga di seluruh negara. Marilah kita ketepikan perbezaan politik untuk terus fokus kepada kebajikan fizikal dan ekonomi rakyat dalam negara. 

  1. (Pengiraan kluster tidak mengambil kira penularan sporadik dalam komuniti yang tidak dapat dikaitkan dengan mana-mana kluster)